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Old 12-30-2015, 10:19 AM   #1
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Torque wrench recommendation needed

As I prepare to receive my AS in May I realise I will need tools that I do not have. One of them is a torque wrench. When choosing one what should I be looking for. Do they all offer more or less the same level of precision +/ - 4% or are some models more precise and does that even make a difference. Should I opt for a model with a range that covers the need of the AS and TV or is there any advantage to have one with a larger range. Pass those general considerations do you have a specific model to recommand .
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Old 12-30-2015, 10:37 AM   #2
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Depends what you'll use it for. If it's just for lug nuts any torque wrench will do. If you're going to rebuild engines, then you'll need a precision wrench.

Generally things measure more accurately near the middle of their range. So I wouldn't get one that means you'll usually use it at either extreme of its range.
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Old 12-30-2015, 10:50 AM   #3
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Don't spend more than $80 US or less than $40 US.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:25 AM   #4
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Don't forget that torque wrenches come in different sizes as well, just like sockets. You may only need a 1/2" drive, or you may need multiple drive sizes.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:31 AM   #5
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I have one of these that I use for torquing lug nuts on our Avion. It'll go up to 150 ft/lbs. Not good for torquing the hitch receiver head.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:38 AM   #6
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For lug nuts a Sears 1/2 inch wrench is fine. Avoid the temptation to buy one from Harbor Junk. Don't make the mistake many do by setting the wrench to the desired torque and leaving it there. When done, always set the wrench to its lowest setting. Leaving it at a high setting distorts the tension spring over time degrading its accuracy.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:39 AM   #7
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For lug nuts and smaller hitch hardware, the 1/2" model at Harbor Freight is just fine. For larger hitch fasteners, Home Depot sells a Husky brand 1/2" that goes up to 250 ft-lbs. Of course it will also work fine for wheels - it's just long and somewhat more expensive than the Harbor Freight one.

For what you are going to use it for, don't spend the money on the Snap-On, Matco, etc stuff.

An important tip to prolong the life and accuracy of any torque wrench is to back off the tension setting all the way when it is being stored. Don't put it away with the dial set to 110 ft-lbs.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by hhendrix View Post
For lug nuts a Sears 1/2 inch wrench is fine. Avoid the temptation to buy one from Harbor Junk. Don't make the mistake many do by setting the wrench to the desired torque and leaving it there. When done, always set the wrench to its lowest setting. Leaving it at a high setting distorts the tension spring over time degrading its accuracy.
The Harbor Freight one has tested pretty well, and comparing it to my more expensive wrenches show it isn't as far off as you might think.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:45 AM   #9
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I have always had pretty good luck buying one off tools at pawn shops. The last torque wrench I bought came from one at a very good price. I couldn't tell the difference between the one I bought and a new one condition wise, it came with a case and the calibration certification. After I bought it, I checked it against a wrench that a quality tire shop uses and it was spot on.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:51 AM   #10
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Torque Wrench

You'll need a 1/2 inch torque wrench for lug nuts, on trailer & truck. I bought one at Harbor Freight, for $20 less 20% off with one of their coupons, & haven't had any problems with it (although I have had problems with more complicated Harbor Freight tools). You'll likely also need a 1/2 inch extension bar, preferably around a foot long, also inexpensive at Harbor Freight. I share others' displeasures with Harbor Freight items, although it's hard to mess up simple tools like wrenches, sockets, etc., and Harbor Freight has quite a supply of them at ridiculously low prices.
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Old 12-30-2015, 12:08 PM   #11
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I have acquired a few good ones over the years.

1/2" drive 250 ft lbs

1/2" drive 250 ft lbs w\ gyros for "torque to angle"

1/2" drive 100 ft lbs

3/8" dive 250 inch pounds...

However, if I was just working on a trailer, i would buy a cheapie.


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Old 12-30-2015, 12:15 PM   #12
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Do I really need a torque wrench? I thought about it this year when I switched to the 16" Sendels/Michelins, but ended up using a regular tire iron. I do check the lugnut tightness a number of times each trip, however. jon
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Old 12-30-2015, 12:18 PM   #13
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Fwiw, even though I have a multitude of torque wrenches, I never torque my lug nuts. I know what feels right.

Those who don't know what right feels like should use a torque wrench.


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Old 12-30-2015, 12:20 PM   #14
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